Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa will be quarantined at his private residence for two weeks amid the coronavirus outbreak, according to a statement published on the website of the Presidency on Sunday.
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According to the statement, the president received a group of students from a school in northern Portugal last Tuesday at an event and took photos with them.
After a student was confirmed on Saturday night to have infected with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and his school was closed, Rebelo de Sousa accepted the suggestion of quarantine from the health authorities.
“Having listened to the health authorities, the President of the Republic, despite not having any viral symptoms, decided to cancel all his public activity… during the next two weeks,” said the statement.
During the two-week period, de Sousa “will be monitored at home”.
The note stresses that neither the pupil taken to hospital nor his class took part in the visit to the palace in Belém.
Another class from the school visited the palace as part of an initiative involving prominent artists, “in a session that the President of the Republic attended, with his having photographs taken with the pupils and teachers without, however, his having greeted them one by one,” the statement explains.
In normal times de Sousa greets many people that he meets on official engagements with a kiss on each cheek.
The office of the president added “all those who attended the Tuesday session” are now being contacted and that the event in question – which was to take place regularly throughout the school year – has been suspended.
“At a time when all Portuguese are showing a high degree of civic maturity in the face of the viral outbreak, the President of the Republic believes that he should set an enhanced example of prevention, while continuing to work in his private residence,” the statement reads.
On Sunday afternoon the president had been scheduled to attend a religious procession in Lisbon, but he did not do so.
His official agenda for Monday had included a visit to the Special Police Unit (UEP) of the PSP police force in Amadora, in Lisbon district.
On Saturday, the Portuguese President had already said that he had decided to reduce “part of his agenda” in Portugal because of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak and to avoid gatherings of people indoors but said that he expected to go ahead with foreign trips planned.
The latest statement suggests that he may not now do so.
As for Sunday night there were 30 cases of coronavirus infection confirmed, mostly in the north of the country. The government announced the temporary suspension of visits to hospitals, homes and prisons in that region; some secondary schools and university faculties have also been temporarily closed.